Bursa healthcare index up most amid Covid-19 revival concerns

Bursa healthcare index up most amid Covid-19 revival concerns
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 12): The FBM KLCI finished 2.38 points or 0.17% lower at 1,379.93 today, while Bursa Malaysia’s Healthcare Index rose by a significantly larger quantum as concerns over a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic weighed on investors’ confidence and at the same time prompted buying of shares in healthcare-related companies like rubber glove manufacturers.

In Malaysia, investors also appeared to take their cue from factors including the current corporate financial reporting season and political updates in the country. News reports today, based on PAS Jeneri assemblyperson Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor's claims, indicated that 23 Kedah state assemblypersons had lost confidence in the leadership of Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir as Kedah menteri besar.

The KLCI closed lower after volatile trade. Malaysian markets resumed trading today folllowing a holiday yesterday in lieu of Nuzul Al-Quran, which fell on Sunday.

Today, Bursa saw 6.39 billion shares worth RM3.73 billion transacted across the exchange. 

The healthcare index, which includes rubber glove manufacturers, closed up 5.21% to be the largest percentage gainer among Bursa indices.

Glove counters dominated the top gainer list across Bursa. The list included Top Glove Corp Bhd, Supermax Corp Bhd and Careplus Group Bhd.

Leading gainer Top Glove closed up 68 sen or 9.3% at RM7.99 after rising to its intraday high of RM8.28.

Careplus, which was also Bursa’s most active stock, saw some 291 million shares traded. The stock’s price hit limit up after closing up 30 sen or 50.85% at its intraday high of 89 sen.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd head of retail research Loui Low said Bursa’s Healthcare Index "outperformed the rest as the related industry, such as glove manufacturing, stands to be a beneficiary of rising glove demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic".

Globally, it was reported that Asian shares tumbled today on growing worries about a second wave of Covid-19 infections after the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated, reported its first new cases since its lockdown was lifted.

According to Reuters, Wuhan reported five new cases yesterday, casting doubts over efforts to lower Covid-19-related restrictions across the country as businesses restarted and individuals went back to work.

In Malaysia tomorrow, investors will follow closely the announcement of the country’s first-quarter (1Q) economic growth numbers to gauge Covid 19’s impact on the nation’s economy.